Happy 2nd Birthday, Twenties Unscripted!

The story goes a little something like this: two years ago, I had nothing more than advice from Melinda Emerson that I needed to purchase a dot com for my blog coupled with an insatiable hunger to write. That was it. July 5, 2012 was the day I bought the domain name for www.twentiesunscripted.com and it has been a wild, unpredictable and life-affirming ride ever since then.

In some ways, the blog’s “birthday” has become bigger than my own. Perhaps it’s a bit strange to celebrate the birth of an inanimate object, but this blog is my lifeblood. It gives me meaning and purpose to have a place to share my truth and connect with people who receive that truth. It’s a tough thing to explain without turning into a half-crazy zealot the way I did a few nights ago when a friend of mine mocked me about a blog post. (I may have set the Guinness World Record for number of times “go fuck yourself” was uttered in a conversation, but that’s neither here nor there.)

I’m reserving this entire month to writing specific posts about this journey, the people I’ve met, the lessons I’ve learned and the gratitude I have. So, I will not squeeze all of those heavy things into a few paragraphs here. Instead, on the blog’s birthday, I want to honor the one thing that has kept this blog afloat–the writing. I’ve written a lot. Like A LOT. Like A LOT, A LOT. I’ve done my best to re-read my work and pull the bits from the past year that I think most reflect this space, my evolution as a writer and my propensity to say really ridiculous shit. Hope you enjoy this Twenties Unscripted trip down memory lane.

“Well, I started the blog because I didn’t hear my voice anywhere else. I wasn’t Lena Dunham. I wasn’t your Black Queen. I wasn’t Carrie Bradshaw. Oh, wait, Carrie Bradshaw isn’t real. Either way, I was some misfit of a writer with all of those influences projected on me, but none of them entirely emblematic of my life experience.” “I Rant, I Roar, But Mostly, I Write: 2013 Twenties Unscripted Mantra” July 10, 2013

“The primary way I’ve made an ounce of sense out of the past few years of my life is to write about them. Observe it. Experience it. Write it. Do not sugar coat it; life does not come to us complete with preservatives. It is raw, rare and uncooked. Sometimes it is ugly, unusual and unfortunate. But, that is what it is. So, you write through it.” The Rise Of The Woman Confessional Writer July 23, 2013

“Twenties Unscripted is about getting women to own our lives, relationships and mistakes.” Quit Fantasizing About Other People’s Lives And Go Live Yours August 13, 2013

“Writing is a lot of thinking and a lot of drinking.” Writing Is Crawling Out Of The Belly Of The Beast With A Story To Tell” August 14, 2013

“I hope that by the time I’m 30, Twenties Unscripted became something. That if nothing else, it drove people to figure their shit out and make mistakes while doing it.” When Twenties Unscripted Is All Said And Done August 15, 2013

 

Black Weblog Awards, Houston, November 2013
Black Weblog Awards, Houston, November 2013

“When someone has only one foot in your life, their partial residence is more agonizing than their absence. Sure, at first you believe you are saving yourself the eternal sting of their vacancy, so you comply with the scant texts, the “let me hit you up” later and the invitations you initiate that they never seem to fully accept or outright deny. They are a master of diplomacy, saying things that do not blatantly make them an asshole but also not saying things that would undoubtedly persuade you of their feelings. Every text becomes a game, every conversation becomes a ball of nerves, every night ends in you sitting up in bed picking apart their sentences until you are down to their syllables.” Either Be In My Life Completely Or Not At All August 19, 2013

“You learn that the world is small, but it is now pint-sized thanks to social media.” Social Media Is Filled With Land Mines From Your Past September 3, 2013

“You are the only person who signs the receipts on your life’s decisions.” Can We Agree To End The “90 Day Rule” Conversation? September 9, 2013

“Don’t chill out. Speak up. Think. Feel. Care about something. Be excitable and be excited. Let things ignite you. Be a pistol. Be a thunderbolt. Be someone at a dinner table with something thought-provoking to say.” You Don’t Need To Be A Chill Girl; Feelings Are Allowed September 18, 2013

“That’s why I think we have to dismantle this mantra of ‘keeping it real.’ It’s as though people can be outright douchebags and hide it under the guise of ‘just being honest’.No. It’s not honesty. It’s assholery at its finest and you need to learn and implement some tact in your life.” There’s A Difference Between Keeping It Real And Being An Asshole September 24, 2013

“Do not surrender your twenties to being a fraud. Stop faking friendships, stop faking relationships, stop faking happiness, stop faking your interests, stop faking orgasms. Just quit. And, learn how to get yourself on a path to the real thing. Learn how to chop down the weeds, cut through the bullshit and find the authentic thing. It’s there.” Do Not Surrender Your Twenties Pt. 2 October 7, 2013

“It never ceases to blow my mind when women know how many carats they want on an engagement ring and they don’t even have, um, I don’t know…a boyfriend? Wouldn’t that be the first step? It’s amazing that you can know you want a princess cut diamond and you don’t even have a fucking 401K.” The Silly Obsession With Engagement Rings October 23, 2013

“Rip up the sketch. Eradicate the image. Let go of the expectations others set for you, or worse, the ones you set for yourself.” Let Go Of How It Should Be October 30, 2013

“I sometimes doubt myself and my work. Not too long ago, I changed the title of a post about

NYC Bloggers Brunch, November 2013
NYC Bloggers Brunch, November 2013

ten times before I clicked publish. I worry about teetering the fine line between using my life as my material and keeping enough of myself private. I try not to drop a plethora of f-bombs per my parents’ suggestion. (Hey, Mom and Dad.) I work hard not to exploit my friendships or relationships. But, I also try to give enough of myself so that people, especially women, connect and see themselves. Because I know that no matter how tired I get, every day I work at this, I am doing something I adore. Few things in life can replace a feeling like that.” Writing, Goals And General Musings About WTF I’m Doing With My Life November 20, 2013

“Don’t let people tell you your twenties are 10 years of the same shit. And, if they tell you that, don’t listen to them. Don’t let that happen. Don’t believe them. Let yourself evolve and grow and change and let go. If you are the same person at 24 who you were at 21, you’re not doing this thing right.” The Difference Between 21 And 24 January 13, 2013

“Feed your passion. Get that check. And, if the rubber finally meets the road and you find a way to do those both simultaneously, well, that’s fucking amazing and some celestial being has looked out for you. But, do not sit idle waiting for that to happen. The rubber does not meet the road without you being on a relentless grind. Move. Work. Bust your ass. Then bust your ass some more.” Passion And Paychecks February 5, 2013

“Writing as a discipline, writing as an art form, writing as an outlet is so much better than what the Internet has made it out to be.” I’m Really Tired Of People Writing For Hits And Shock Value February 19, 2014

 

Twenties Unscripted Presents "See. Speak. Feel." March 2014
Twenties Unscripted Presents “See. Speak. Feel.” March 2014

“Blogging is about consistency. Blogging is about consistency. ONE MORE TIME, BLOGGING IS ABOUT CONSISTENCY.” The Blogging Game: Stop Waiting For Inspiration February 21, 2014

“Some days, I am in the quicksand. And, as I stand there feeling as though I’m about to go under, I force myself to remember that things happen for a reason.” When It Feels Like You’re Drowning In Quicksand March 1, 2014

“Create meaning. Bring meaning. Add value. Seek to become a person who adds substance, not just sugar.” Do It With Passion Or Not At All March 3, 2014

“I don’t want part. I want the whole. The entire fucking whole. I want the stories and the passion and the scars. I want the lust and the love and yes, the attention. I want someone to have my back the way I have theirs. I want someone to hold my dreams close and hold my secrets closer. I want someone to give of themselves fully the way I believe in giving of myself to others. The way I believe in giving of myself to everything in this world that I do. Every relationship I take on, every friendship I value, every goal I chase after. I do not want part. I want the whole.” Settling For Part When You Can’t Have The Whole March 4, 2014

“But, know that passivity is a decision. Keeping him around is a decision. Turning a blind eye to

Twenties Unscripted Presents "Brunch, Blogs and Books" May 2014
Twenties Unscripted Presents “Brunch, Blogs and Books” May 2014

what happened is a decision. People are quick to mistake doing nothing as indecisiveness. Doing nothing is a decision. Inertia is a decision.” Doing Nothing Is A Decision April 30, 2014

“Writing is not how I make my living; writing is how I make my life.” Writing Isn’t How I Make My Living, It’s How I Make My Life” May 29, 2014

 

“Pay the least attention to what he texts, less to what he says and most to what he does.” What I Know About Life Three Years After Graduation May 20, 2014

“Lifting someone else up never, ever lessens you. If anything, it elevates you.” We Need To Show Each Other Authentic Support June 23, 2014

Happy 2nd Birthday, Twenties Unscripted. It’s probably completely inappropriate to cheers to a toddler, but here’s to many more years of wine, writing, women and wisdom.

Xoxo,

Tyece

I Confess: Technology is in the Front Seat of the Emily Car

Guest Post by Emily Lin

Last Friday I lost my phone on a Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle Bus (GUTS Bus). It was in my back pocket and during the bumpiest ride on a bus I’ve ever had, it fell out. I didn’t notice which is bizarre given the size of phone I had (LG Intuition) and it wasn’t until maybe an hour or two later that I realized it was gone.

Not a big deal for me actually (or so I thought), I had lost my phone plenty of times before. I’m not proud of it but not being able to keep a phone for over a year has become an unfortunate quality of my life that I’ve come to accept. From lost iPhones in Panama during spring break of freshman year to to second-hand droids falling into the toilet, this one has learned not to get attached to her cellphone. This time was no different.

Luckily I had kept my previous phone from before I upgraded. My last phone was an LG enV; it’s what I like to call a ‘dumb phone.’ No touch screen. No Internet. No apps. No music. I was ready to pull this phone from some dark corner of my room and activate it again when I really started thinking about what it using it would mean.

I wouldn’t be able to access and reply to emails as promptly as before. Friendships with people from overseas whose maintenance has been reliant on Facebook would be strained. No more maps. No more games. No more Uber.

Call me incredibly lazy but it was really imagining a life without Uber that got me. I conceded. Technology wins, Emily loses.

It was an embarrassing moment for me. I’m not proud of it but it has allowed me to acknowledge this dependency I and many young people have on technology nowadays. We’ve put so much of our lives into these wires and signals; unknowingly giving these little devices (and the companies that run them) VIP passes to our lives.

Now, I’m a big fan of science-fiction about utopias and dystopias so pardon me if I get slightly nerdy, but looking at the role technology plays in our lives is positively dystopic. I know people who are afraid of answering phone calls or calling a service hotline to ask for help because it means they can’t text. I’ve seen whole families and couples on dates in Asia who spend their time out at a restaurant in silence, each party playing with their phone or tablet. My own parents will Skype me from their individual devices when they’re in the same house and sometimes the same room.

Less than ten years ago, being so attached to your cellphone was considered a flaw. Today it is the norm. Anything less than being available and checking your email 24/7 is considered outdated. Less than ten years ago science fiction depicted a world filled with brightly lit screens and automated services and called it dystopia. It was a viewpoint that feared new technology because it didn’t understand what it could do. Today, we take that fear for granted. With every checking of the ‘I accept the terms and conditions’ box sans reading the actual terms and conditions, we’re acknowledging that we have no real idea what this piece of technology is actually doing, what sort of information it could be gathering, but you know what, we’re going to say yes anyway because it’s easy and the price of being ‘disconnected’ is too great.

Let me level with you technology.

I love you. You gave me online streaming and online shopping and Google and Wikipedia. I love you, I depend on you and what scares me is that you know it.

Sadly accepting her defeat,

Emily

Emily Lin is an undergraduate student at Georgetown University studying Comparative Literature, Chinese and Linguistics. Emily can’t ask for much but if she had three wishes, she would use them on a beach house, traveling the world and a coffee shop bookstore. She occasionally has an online shopping problem and would one day love to speak and write in at least four languages.

The Devil In Your Own Head

My best friend and I have the same conversation a couple of times a year. Usually it’s one centered around me complaining about my first-world problems and insecurities and her always saying, “You’re too hard on yourself.” We had it yesterday. For the 139th time. These conversations typically consist of me mumbling/trying not to cry as I vent about a hodgepodge of issues including, but not limited to, finances, career goals and overall expectations of how I’d like things to be.

I should know by now that one of my greatest virtues and vices is how hard I am on myself. I expect a lot and those skyscraper expectations often times leave very little margin for error. Very little margin for mistakes or setbacks or sometimes-shit-just-happens. When shit just happens, as it usually does, I take it far too personally. I internalize it and keep that shit harbored in my heart long past its expiration date. Those high expectations I set for myself also don’t give me enough space to 1)  properly celebrate my successes 2) breathe easy when things don’t go according to plan and 3) recharge. It’s cool to be hard on yourself, until you’ve forgotten to take a step back and show gratitude for the things that have gone well. It’s OK to be hard on yourself, but not at the expense of your own sanity and peace of mind.

Perfectionism is a pretty form of insecurity. Claiming that you are a perfectionist, which is one identifier I’d use to describe myself, is a socially acceptable way to say you’re always worried you’ll never be good enough. Perfectionism is some bullshit that only exists in Narnia. Chasing that which you know is not attainable softens the blow when you simply don’t attain what you desire. I don’t want to be a perfectionist anymore. Because perfectionism is just the devil in your pretty little head telling you a bunch of lies of about who you are, relative only to your “success” or “failure”. Perfectionism deceives us so we believe failure is personal, not universal. Perfectionism is a giant ink blot on a clean page of confidence, making it difficult to focus on all of the good because of one thing that isn’t quite right. I’ve let the conniving demon of perfectionism stay in my head for years upon years and something now tells me I would have been just as strong, just as successful, without it. Probably even more.

I’m hitting a juncture where I want to find the sweet spot between confidence and sometimes-shit-just-happens. I know that if I have any chance of making the kind of strides I want to make in life, I need a larger margin for error. I need to welcome the rain, not run from it. Sometimes there is renewed confidence in welcoming the rain. Sometimes there is inspiration in welcoming the rain. Sometimes there is relief in welcoming the rain instead of fighting the storm.

I have a growing email thread with a blogger named Meagan. Meagan has picked my brain for ideas and in return, I have offered her the iota of insight I think I have. Last week we emailed and the last thing I said to her was, “Do not let anything get in your way. That includes yourself.” Now I have to be audacious enough to take my own advice.

Xoxo

Tyece

The Scarcity Of Human Connection

I couldn’t wait to read Cheryl Strayed’s “Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar.” Until 2012 when she revealed her identity, Cheryl Strayed always wrote under the pseudonym of “Sugar”, expelling advice that was universal, candid and profane. I read a few columns from Dear Sugar after a friend introduced me to it during college, my favorite one being Sugar’s advice to graduating English majors entitled, “The Future Has An Ancient Heart.” So, getting to read an entire book of her columns should have been amazing.

I devoured a good fraction of the book during one weekend, but I had only gotten through seven pages before I cried for the first time. The book has been a bit of a gut-wrenching read, with people writing in to Sugar about many of life’s heavyweights including the death of family members, sexual assault and broken marriages. It’s absolutely no secret that Cheryl Strayed’s writing is both phenomenal and palpable which is a skill few writers ever master. But, there is something both beautiful and tragic about strangers writing to a total stranger about some of their life’s most ill-lighted moments. It begs the question of where are these people’s families? Where are their friends? Where are the people who are supposed to love these people and huddle around them at times like these? But, that question often times elicits the answer that many people do not always have that cushion of human connection.

Recently, I cried during one of my coworker’s last days at work. It was not a happy day; she was getting laid off. And, I do not care if you amass all of the quotes about “new opportunities” and and “starting fresh” because I still believe that getting laid off fucking blows. It’s a safety net being yanked from underneath someone’s feet without their consent. I cried saying bye to her because in the year and a half that we’ve worked together, I got to know her as a person. She was one of the few people who asked about my apartment when I first moved back to the East coast. She was always worried about my safety and well-being. So, yes, I cried saying bye to her and yes, I made it supremely awkward for everyone else in the office. But, I can’t apologize for that. If crying in the office is unprofessional, then I’ve been unprofessional several times throughout my career. Because, people are people. We bring our full selves to work, even if we try endlessly to dilute those selves for the sake of professionalism. When you get to know people, you connect with them. End of story.

The world has become incredibly intolerant of emotion. We’re so fucking busy and so apathetic and we just can’t seem to be bothered with how we feel, let alone with how others feel. It frightens me that in a world where we are hyper connected, we are forgetting how to genuinely connect. We do not allow ourselves to tuck our phones away when we’re talking to another person. We have opted for surface-level chit chat over substantial conversation. To admit how deeply or strongly we feel about things means the labels “crazy” or “too emotional” could be hurled our way. Everything we say is predicated on jest or sarcasm; if we say anything serious, we feel the need to preface it or provide a disclaimer.

I do not know if I’m built for that kind of world. I’ve been called various forms of “too emotional” in my life, but I’m learning not to immediately deem that an insult. I’m vocal. I’m connected to people. I have thoughts and opinions. I cry a lot, whenever the fuck I feel like it. I shout. I write a lot of shit that other people think but won’t say. I write even more shit that I think but won’t say. But, I’ve learned that these things don’t make me “too emotional”. Instead, they mean my heart is still beating and my body is still breathing. Human connection is scarce. I’m fighting every day to make sure it doesn’t become extinct.

Xoxo,

Tyece

The Kim and Kanye Nuptials: Cause Jealousy Is Just Love And Hate At The Same Time

I typically refrain from writing about pop culture because this is a personal blog, and very rarely does my personal life intersect with popular culture in a way that compels me to write. However, I believe in writing about what is top of mind and today, for better or worse, the Kimye wedding inundated my brain.

If you are one of those people rolling your eyes because I’m giving more ammo to the SEO power of Kim and Ye, sorry that I’m not sorry. Perhaps I will be less vapid and more thought-provoking tomorrow. Perhaps I won’t.

I didn’t realize Kim Kardashian and Kanye West tied the knot on Saturday (maybe I’ve been living under an entertainment rock) until I caught a glimpse of E! News as they recapped that Rob Kardashian did not attend the ceremony. After that, I read articles here and there about the wedding. And, like many others, I marveled at the newly-released photos of Kim’s gown. But, I stood in even more awe of the “Just Married” motorcycle jackets the couple donned post-ceremony.

While bingeing on all of this entertainment junk food, I secretly hated myself, wondering why I cared even a little bit about these two people. There was a time not too long ago when I stopped watching anything on E! because I was just plain tired of The Kardashian Kingdom. Yet, in the past few days, I’ve been a moth to the Kimye flame.

As she often times does, Jessica Schiffer can take credit for the change in my mindset. I read her piece, “The Wedding of Our Time: Another Love Letter To Kimye” on Saturday and it struck a chord. Schiffer writes:

But Kanye West—he of inappropriately timed comments, a give-no-fucks-ever attitude, and a talent for general existence that is unmatched in pop culture—settling down? That would be worthy of our eyeballs in and of itself, but it’s even more so because he is marrying the Kim of all Kims—another figure who produces a strong reaction in the general public, with society’s collective insecurities and emotions constantly projected onto her innocent and wildly successful figure. It often seems that people rally against her simply because she bucked the system better than the rest of us.

“She bucked the system better than the rest of us.” Holy shit. She’s right.

I think it’s very easy, almost too easy, to turn our noises up at Kim Kardashian and castigate her for not following a traditional, American Dream, route to success. It’s also easy to do the same when it pertains to her spouse, particularly when we couple his success with his general assholery. But, it’s also our responsibility to look at ourselves and wonder what’s the true source of our disdain for these two people who have undoubtedly caused a cosmic shift in 21st century entertainment. Maybe we are simply annoyed by Kim’s voice. Maybe our skin crawls every time Kanye cuts someone off while they’re mid-sentence. But, something tells me it’s more than that.

Jealousy and resentment are emotions born out of a one-dimensional view of someone’s life, success or circumstances. Our views of Kim and Kanye are one-dimensional, our perceptions formed based on the sliver of details we know thanks to television episodes or radio interviews. That one-dimensional view makes it easy to forget that they are both as human, as flawed, as complex as the rest of us. That one-dimensional view makes it easy to forget that these two people fight and love and cry and hurt like the rest of us. That one-dimensional view makes it easy to be so much less forgiving of these two than we would be of ourselves. That one-dimensional view can make us really small beings if we let it.

It is very easy to both hate and love that which you do not truly know.  Jealousy is a snake of an emotion, often times inhabiting its possessor very quietly and then shooting out to spit venom into someone else when least expected. But, it’s also a natural response when we want something that we can’t have or we fall into the abyss of comparing ourselves to others. It’s easy to grab jealousy instead of trying to change ourselves. It’s easy to snatch jealousy instead of playing the cards we were dealt and not coveting the ones we were not. It’s easy to seize jealousy instead of accepting that Kim’s ass will always defy gravity, Kanye’s irreverence will always make headlines and these two people may very well live happily ever after.

Xoxo,

Tyece